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2014 CANTON COMMUNICATION CENTER

ANNUAL REPORT

 

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About the Canton 911 Communication Center:

The Canton Communications Center is now functioning as an independent department within the City of Canton supporting the communication needs of most every agency in the City.  Foremost among these services is the 800 MHz radio communications our dispatchers (TCs) coordinate on a 24/7/365 basis.  It's important to note that not only do we provide the Police and Fire Departments with their radio communications needs; we also support the Street, Water, and Sewer departments among other agencies in the City.  The emergency Police and Fire services can be divided into "911" emergency calls, non-emergency calls, and operational maintenance communications necessary for the smooth operations of critical safety services. 

 

Communication Center Operational Staffing and Responsibilities:

The communication center is staffed with one civilian Director, one administrative assistant, 16 full-time and 1 part-time Telecommunicators or "TCs".  One of the largest struggles we have is maintaining qualified, trained personnel capable of dealing with the uniquely challenging tasks a TC is called upon to perform on a daily basis.  I am proud to say that our current staff of TCs performs admirably under the considerable hardships placed on them by the nature of their position.  There were no new Full-time position filled in 2013, however, 1 part-time position was added. 

 

Many citizens have a reasonable idea of what their local 911 communication center does on a day by day basis.  Your Canton City 911 Communication Center dispatches police, fire and emergency medical assistance as well as other non-emergency communication needs.  Living in the age of 21st century communications gives us all an insight into emergency service operations like never before.  Even so, the work of our 911 dispatchers cannot be fully appreciated without first hand, up close and personal participation or observation of the system.  I can only imagine that the phrase "You can't make this stuff up" must have originated by an employee in a dispatch center.  Responsibilities involve taking 911 calls for police, fire and medical emergencies, of course, but the dispatchers' are tasked with much more than that.  Today, communication duties for literally all departments that serve our citizens often pass through CanCom at one point or another.  The Center is the point of contact for questions from other local, state, and federal agencies, as well as the many inquiries from citizens.  With questions from "what time is trick or treat" to "my child is not breathing...what should I do", they bear a heavy burden of responsibility.  This, in part, can explain why it is so difficult to find and train a successful dispatch.  Today, the Canton 911 dispatcher is not just responsible for those things that happen in Canton proper, but also Louisville and East Canton as well.  It also needs to be understood that a dispatcher is not just a dispatcher in the purest sense of the word.  They are an integral member of the response team whose responsibility to an emergency isn't complete until the responding agency is able to complete the call for service (CFS).  Fire calls or hostage negotiations can require many hours before they are completed.  So too does the work of a dispatcher as they assist the first responders with information and notifications right up until the scene is cleared and everyone goes home.  They experience many of the same emotions and involvement the first responders do and as such, their emotional make-up must be similar. Imagine answering a complaint by a caller whose neighbor's TV is too loud, followed closely by a 911 call from a shooting victim with possible life threatening injuries.  Then imagine the next caller wants to know about the weather as two more 911 lines begin to ring loudly.  At the same time, they cannot forget their obligation to the firemen and officers on the street who may call on the radio at any moment requesting back-up or assistance for a call that gone out of control.  This makes team work among the dispatchers essential.  Being able to know and rely on your co-worker becomes a necessity as much as any team sport you might think of.  And while the job may not require dispatchers to be athletic in the sense of a pro athlete, the end of a busy shift can leave them just as physically and emotionally drained as any major sporting event. 

 

With all these responsibilities comes a multitude of decisions.  Every minute brings with it the need to make many, many decision.  Some of these decisions, when made poorly, can be the difference between serious harm to someone at worst or disciplinary action toward the employee at least.  The last responsibility, and perhaps one of the most difficult, is the dispatchers' responsibility to do all of these things in a respectful and professional manner regardless of the attitude of the public or the responders they are serving.  This is one of the reasons we record all telephone calls, emergency or administrative as well as all radio communications incoming or outgoing.  While this is a needed requirement, it nevertheless adds to the overall stress of the work environment.  All of these things taken together begin to illustrate just why it's a rare individual who is able to work under these conditions and perform at the needed level of competence and professionalism. 

 

Dispatching by the Numbers - Calls for Service:

2013 was again a busy time for the Canton 911 Communication Center.  The Fire side dispatchers received and dispatched over 14,807 calls for service (CFS), while the Police side received and dispatched over 69,844 CFS.  However, these numbers alone don't tell the whole story where calls are concerned.  Administrative duties and non-emergency CFS need to be factored in.  For example, the Police side handled an additional 12,455 administrative CFS which resulted in dispatched officers.  Finally, calls for transfer or just requesting information comprise a large part of the Center's duties.  These calls are not tracked and therefore difficult to account for in addition to the 97,000+ dispatched CFS, but you can be sure these would push the actual number of calls into the Center well above 100,000. 

 

The following numbers illustrate the categories comprising the dispatched CFS handled by the Center in 2013:

 

FIRE:

ACCIDENT NO INJURIES

4

ACCIDENT WITH INJURIES

112

ACCIDENT/INJURIES

1

ALARM

2

ALTERCATION

460

ASSAULT CASUALTY

2

ASSIST FD OR PARAMEDICS

1

ASSIST FIRE DEPT/ARSON

1

ASSIST POLICE

14

AUTO ACCIDENT/INJURIES/CITY

512

AUTO ACCIDENT/INJURIES/EXPWAY

69

BLEEDING

308

BREATHING/SOB

1,262

BURNS

17

BUSINESS ALARM

462

CHILD BIRTH

120

CHOKING

31

DEAD ON ARRIVAL

36

DIABETIC

448

DOMESTIC TROUBLE

3

DROWNING

1

EXPLOSION,NO FIRE

2

EXTRICATION

5

F04

1

FO3

1

FRACTURES\FALLS

1,162

HEART\CHEST PAIN OVER 40

882

HEART\CHEST PAIN UNDER 40

274

HIT SKIP

1

HIT SKIP WITH INJURIES

18

HOME HELP

624

INDUSTRIAL

10

INVEST W/NO SYMPTOMS

7

INVEST W/SYMPTOMS

4

INVESTIGATION

485

LOCK IN

39

LOCK OUT

98

MEDICAL

4,071

MENTAL

274

MO2

1

MO4S-

1

MUTUAL AID

9

N-

1

NO INFORMATION

216

NOT BREATHING

31

ODOR, SMELL OF NATURAL GAS

69

OFFICER REQUESTS ASSISTANCE

1

OTHER

1

OVERDOSE/DRUGS

285

PERSON DOWN

1

PERSON THREATENING SUICIDE

5

POISONING

5

PRIVATE ALARM RESIDENCE

137

RAPE

5

REFUSE FIRE

45

SEIZURES

471

SEVERE BLEEDING

29

SHOOTING

45

SPECIAL OPERATION TEAM

2

SPILL,LEAK NO FIRE

56

STABBING OR CUTTING CASUALTY

2

STABBING\CUTTING

63

STROKE

199

STRUCTURE FIRE

261

STRUCTURE FIRE\ENTRAPPED

20

SUICIDE

8

TEST CALL

4

TREE/GRASS FIRE

50

UNAUTHORIZED BURNING

172

UNCONSCIOUS

641

VEHICLE FIRE

77

WIRES DOWN

69

X

1


========


14,807

 

POLICE:

9 1 1 HANG UP

1,577

A

1

ABANDONED VEHICLE

292

ABDUCTION

19

ACCIDENT NO INJURIES

2,407

ACCIDENT WITH INJURIES

543

ADMIN

12,445

ADMINM

1

ALARM

4,165

ALCOHOL/DRUG IMPAIRED PERSON

447

ARMED ROBBERY

215

ARMED ROBBERY IN PROGRESS

2

ASSAULT CASUALTY

1,091

ASSIST CPS OR APS

92

ASSIST FD OR PARAMEDICS

602

ASSIST FIRE DEPT/ARSON

27

AUTO THEFT

666

B & E

578

B & E (RESIDENCE)

1,017

B & E IN PROGRESS

482

BAD CHECKS OR FORGERY

305

BANK ALARM

43

BLOCKED DRIVE

145

BOMB THREAT

7

BREAK

4,178

BUILDING/VACATION CHECK

386

CHASE

24

CHECK ON THE WELFARE

2,174

CHILD CUSTODY DISPUTE

199

CLOTHES OUT

391

CRIMINAL TRESPASS

484

DEAD ON ARRIVAL

106

DESTRUCTION

1,916

DISABLED VEHICLE

1,147

DISTURBANCE

1,997

DISTURBANCE (ROWDIES)

1,070

DOG BITE

70

DOG RUNNING LOOSE

360

DOMESTIC TROUBLE

2,838

DRUG VIOLATION

623

FIGHT

290

GAMBLING VIOLATION

7

HIT SKIP

1,103

HIT SKIP WITH INJURIES

99

ILLEGAL PARKING

1,061

INDECENT EXPOSURE

68

INJURED ANIMAL

121

JUNK VEHICLE

177

MEET COMPLAINANT

883

MENACING OR HARASSMENT

1,600

MISSING PERSON

668

MONEY TRANSFER

477

NOTIFICATION

228

OBSERVATION

1,209

OFFICER NEED HELP

4

OFFICER REQUESTS ASSISTANCE

396

OPEN DOOR

492

OTHER

579

OVERTIME PARKING

354

PERIODIC

4

PERIODIC CHECK

664

PERIODIC CHECKS

2

PERSON DOWN

98

PERSON THREATENING SUICIDE

756

PERSON WITH A GUN

462

PERSONNEL COMPLAINT REPORT

24

PICK UP WANTED SUBJECT

1,491

PROSTITUTION VIOLATION

156

PROWLER

315

RAPE

107

RECOVERED AUTO

286

RECOVERED PROPERTY

624

ROBBERY

241

SEX OFFENSE

144

SHOOTING CASUALTY

72

SHOPLIFTER

412

SHOTS FIRED

536

SHOTS FIRED SHOTSPOTTER

308

STABBING OR CUTTING CASUALTY

59

SUSPICION OF DEMENTIA

447

SUSPICIOUS PERSON

2,065

SUSPICIOUS VEHICLE

1,309

TELEPHONE HARASSMENT

201

TEST CALL

2

THEFT

3,195

TRAFFIC STOP

5,666

TRANSPORT

366

TROUBLE

6,532

UNRULY JUVENILE

622

WIRES DOWN

102


========

Totals

82,216

 

I think when one takes a moment to study these categories and numbers; it becomes clear how easily each call could become a tragedy.  We owe the dispatchers and first responders a debt of gratitude for their efforts in seeing that as few calls as possible result in tragedy and those that do are as a result of factors beyond our control.

 

A Word about Technology Utilized by the Communication Center:

As mentioned earlier, our community is blessed to have a very sophisticated 800 MHz, trunked radio system by Motorola - the leading manufacturer in public safety radio.  This radio system was made even stronger when we completed our literal merger with the Stark Co. Sheriff's radio back in 2011.  At that time we became a 12 channel, 10 tower, simulcast system designed to serve the communication needs of the entire Stark County area.  Many thanks should be given to Mayor Healy's administration, the Stark County Commissioners, Canton Administrative Fire personnel, and then Sheriff Tim Swanson.   All of these individuals worked very hard to achieve this goal. 

 

The Canton Communication Center (CanCom) has five Motorola Gold Elite Dispatching consoles. Currently, we run our shifts with a minimum of four TCs at any given time.  Each of these TCs have the responsibility to control their console containing up to 23 radio channels and 33 incoming phone lines dedicated to Canton Police Dept, Fire Dept, Sewer Dept, Street Dept, Louisville Police, East Canton Police and Aultman Hospital.  We also completed the replacement of our aging 911 telephone answering equipment in 2011.  We expect this equipment to enable us to more seamlessly shift to "Next Generation" (NG) 911 features.  Among these features are receiving 911 text followed by 911 photographs and video.  Today, this equipment allows us to directly receive land line 911 calls along with updated GPS location data.  When these increased capabilities are made available they will allow more information to arrive at our Center thereby increasing our understanding of the emergency at hand.   This, in turn, will allow us to more efficiently and effectively utilize existing resources.  This carries with it the potential not just to save money, but more importantly, to save lives.

 

The Canton/Stark County-wide Radio System stands ready to support all Stark County first responder agencies as they migrate into new radio systems.  It is our hope that someday in the not too distant future, all of Starks first responder agencies and even some other local public service agencies, will operate within this system. This will provide the citizens of Stark County with a first class, unified communication network designed with their highest level of safety in mind.  At this time Louisville Police, East Canton Police, Plain Twp Fire, Plain Twp Police, Stark County Sheriff, Canton Police, Canton Fire as well as supporting service agencies in both Canton and Stark County utilize this 800 MHz radio system. 

 

Future Direction for the Communication Center:

In past reports I spoke of 2011 as an historic year because it represented the first full year that the Canton Communication Center actually merged its Motorola radio system with the Stark County Sheriff's office radio system.  This was the culmination of a multi-year, multi-million dollar project which electronically merged these two agencies' radio hardware.  The result created a radio system capable of serving all police, fire and many other types of public service agencies in Stark County, regardless of the local political subdivision to which they belong.  Many of the growing pains associated with that merger are behind us now and our focus has become encouraging all fellow safety service agencies operating in the Stark County area to join us in utilizing our County/City 800 Mhz radio system for their local operational radio needs.  

 

Another technological milestone that looks within reach is the implementation of a new Computer Aided Dispatch software system or CAD.  While we have been lucky enough to enjoy a modern, well engineered radio system for some time, we cannot say the same for the CAD we have had in service for many years.  Despite its ability to function on its designed level, it is old and the lack of ability to modernize it has stalled the efficiency of our dispatchers and their ability to partake in many modern time saving features that have been introduced in the marketplace over the last decade.  With cooperation between the County and City officials, a new CAD system looks to be just around the corner.  In addition to what a new CAD would mean to the individual communication agency, it also has the potential to put us all on the same page in the dispatch software arena.  This is a major hurdle in clearing the way for county-wide dispatching in Stark.  Everyone here at the Canton 911 Communication Center looks forward to this pending improvement and the ability it will bring to better serve our citizens.  

 

 

Director Dean McKimm

Canton Communication Center

City of Canton

 

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